Have you ever noticed different operation modes when configuring some TP-link multi-mode devices, such as Access Point and 3G/4G router? Perhaps AP mode, repeater/bridge mode are quite familiar to you. But other modes are equally useful and can fill a niche to help enhance your networking setup. This article will differentiate those modes in specific scenarios, offering instructions on how to improve network stability.
AP mode VS Repeater/Bridge mode (for home Wi-Fi extension)
The two modes are included in many TP-Link devices, but quite widely used in Access Point (AP). If you position your only router on the first floor, internet connection often drops when you stay on the second floor. Because solid walls block most signals and create dead zones in some of your rooms. To solve this problem, you want to put an AP between your devices and router and have it “pass along” your Wi-Fi signal. Both of the two modes can be used to achieve this.
With Access Point mode, An AP can connect to an internet source via cable. The cable will ensure you get the best possible speeds between the access point and the root router. Using Access Point mode is ideal if some rooms are laid out with Ethernet ports coming from one main cable. Your AP can connect to the main router via the Ethernet port in your room.
Repeater/Bridge mode performs the same role as Access Point mode. But it makes the AP connect to root AP or router wirelessly. This mode allows AP to directly copy the SSID and password of the router or root AP. This is a great choice if there are no spare Ethernet ports in your house or the AP is too far to connect to the router via cable.
When your AP works in repeater/bridge mode, they must be placed where the Wi-Fi router's signal isn’t weak, not in the location of the actual dead zone. For instance, it is better to put AP on your bookshelf or closet near the ceiling if you are trying to extend Wi-Fi coverage on the second floor.
Client Mode (access to the wireless network)
Client mode enables the AP to work as a wireless adapter to receive wireless signal from your wireless network. Maybe your desktop and Smart TV are unable to receive Wi-Fi signals and too far away from the main router. In this case, your device plugs into the AP working in Client mode and thus it can join your family network wirelessly.
Multi-SSID mode (for multiple networks)
With Multi-SSID mode, an AP can create multiple networks for different groups of people. Assuming there are four departments: HR, Sales, Purchase, and R&D. It would be better if these departments have different access level to the internet and have permission to visit their own related resources. An AP on Multi-SSID mode and a switch can help to achieve this goal. Before using AP to create multiple SSIDs, you should configure VLANs with different access level and authority on the switch. (For VLAN configuration on switch, please refer to: https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/faq/418/).
You can assign a VLAN to each SSID. After connecting to SSID 1, 2, 3, 4 respectively, the four departments all have internet access and belong to different VLAN networks (HR-VLAN1, Sales-VLAN2, Purchase-VLAN3, and R&D-VLAN4). For example, only the staff in HR Department will have the access permission to visit the HR department’s resources when they connect to SSID 1. Also, you can customize security types for different SSIDs.
3G/4G router mode (for ISP network expansion)
In 3G/4G router mode, with a 3G/4G modem/card, the router can join a 3G/4G network and serve as a wireless central hub to broadcast its SSID. Therefore, other devices can share the 3G/4G network wirelessly. It is quite useful when you don’t have available wired or wireless internet options around, especially you are on a trip to some foreign countries.
Wireless Router Mode (for home internet sharing)
Some devices can act as a wireless router when you want to share a wired internet connection with your friends and family members. A 3G/4G router has a WAN port on its side and supports multiple connection types, such as PPPoE/Dynamic IP/Static IP.
WISP mode (for WISP user internet sharing)
WISP stands for Wireless Internet Service Provider. If it is impossible for your router to physically obtain a normal wired link to the ISP, this mode enables the router to act as a WAN port to connect to a remote Wi-Fi hotspot and set up your own wireless network in some public areas, such as offices, bars, and restaurants. Then you can share the internet connection with your devices via Wi-Fi and Ethernet.
With WISP mode, you can set your own network more easily and quickly, especially when the public network isn't encrypted.